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October 29, 2008

More on KROC radio cuts

My story about the job cuts at Cumulus Media's Rochester radio stations is out there now, but here's some of what Steve Skogen had to say as well as Megan Kennedy.

National financial woes reached Rochester radio this week when two local on-air personalities were laid off.

Steve “Scoop” Skogen, half of the longtime morning duo of Rich & Steve, and midday deejay Megan Kennedy, were laid off from Cum092507sliderrichsteve

ulus Media’s KROC AM and FM stations Friday as part of budget cuts.

“I had a good run after 35 years in the business,” Skogen said Tuesday. “I’ve been living my dream since I got into the business. I was fortunate to have worked as long as I did. I would have scripted the ending differently, but it was a great run.”

Told about the layoff “about 17 minutes after I got off the air Friday,” Skogen said it did come as a shock.

“I was blindsided by it. I didn’t see it coming at all,” he said.

However, he said he has no hard feelings about the matter.

Operations Manager Brent Ackerman, who worked with Skogen at KROC for more than 20 years, said it was a sad day, both personally and professionally.
 On KROC-FM (106.9), Kennedy hosted the KROC All-Request Noon Hour. She started at KROC when she was 17 in 1999 and eventually was given her own show.

“Part of me is still hoping it is a big ratings ploy that they didn’t tell me about,” she said talking about being laid off. She was told Thursday.

Kennedy says she was told it was pure economics and she had not done anything wrong.

“I’m not sure what the future holds for me. I’d like to stay in  Rochester,” she said this morning. “I’ll miss KROC and all of the listeners. Now this chapter is done and it is on to bigger and better things.”

Kennedy, megan
For his part, Skogen wanted to thank all the listeners that let him into their lives for so many years.

“I took pride in being involved in the goings-on in our community,” he said.
What’s next for him?

“Like everybody else, I still have a mortgage to pay,” he said, chuckling. “I’m looking for gainful employment for someone who will show up on time but has few marketable skills after so many years in radio.”


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You know it's hard to fault a company for laying off people in this economy, and yet incredibly easy to fault them for doing it in such a douchy manner.

I wish them both the best of luck. I know the ecomonic status as put many people out of a job. I can't help but think it's too bad they couldn't have gotten rid of CJ in the morning and kept one of the other personalities. Megan would have been just fine in the morning with Duncan. She does a much better job than CJ when she fills in. I can't speak for Steve Skogen, as I'm not as familiar with his show - but 35 years should say something. Good luck to them both.

This kind of reminds me of the movie "Christmas Vacation" when the boss cuts out christmas bonuses because "it looked good on paper". I sure hope Cumulus made the right decision. Just because it loooks good on paper doesn't mean it's the best decision for the future of the company. I understand businesses are having financial troubles but I'm sure these employees would have rather taken a paycut then have no pay at all.

I completely agree with Banker and 2cents...there was study recently done which showed that when management cuts costs in this way, more times than not they end up losing more revenue from "loss of business" than the costs associated from the higher paid "talent". Will be an interesting test to see if this holds true here as well.

As for HOW they did it. One word....cowardly. You owe it to your employees (especially if they have worked that long for you)to let them know that the ship is sinking. Sure you run the risk that they will leave before you want them to, but you OWE them that after all those years of dedication. How can what was done not taint the view of management at Cumulus?

Would we have seen these layoffs if the station were still locally owned? Would other changes be considered before making personel cuts? Corporate owned communcations outlets are not looking out for the local interest. Bring radio station ownership back home!

Good Luck Steve and Megan.

Good luck bringing the ownership back home. I just searched 'Lewis Dickey Cumulus' on Google and the first site option was for Check out what the Chairman for Cumulus Broadcasting is worth. Aside from being worth millions, the guy's family owns over 40% of the company. It will be interesting to watch the gap between the ultra-super-rich and the working class get bigger and bigger and bigger as more and more of these "crucial financial decisions" are made across the country. Yes, the economy is in a slump. Yes, it might be time to start saving some money here and there. More importantly, though, it is time to start focusing on the real problem here which is our national tendency to search for the easiest, quickest and most profitable way from point A to point B. Maybe the whole idea of trying to take over the broadcasting world and buy the rights to every small market available wasn't such a brilliant one? Maybe Cumulus, and just about anybody else who tried to expand their business too quickly through the late 90's and early 00's only to find out that they took on too much, too fast, could realize their entrepreneurial shortcomings and try to teach their children and grandchildren that it isn't so much about how much you make, but rather about how long you can make it? I believe it is the slow dime over the quick nickel theory. To insert another cliche, haste makes waste and in this case the waste is two quality employees and their unfeigned allegiance to the community service positions they held. In a time when people are more apt to check their phones or laptops for skewed information brought to them by some distant news source, this community, by way of poor business decisions and the resulting financial downfall, has lost two personalities that gave everything they had to the idea of connecting people locally by providing them with honest local knowledge and an opportunity to communicate their appreciation, or their differences for that matter, in a manner that was forthright and professional. Whether it was over the telephone or in person at various events throughout the community, Steve and Megan made themselves unabashedly available to their listeners and that is something that will be missed as "cutbacks" such as these continue to appear across the nation. We are becoming an increasingly disconnected culture and these recent happenings do nothing more than provide definitive evidential support to this idea.

Breaking up the dynamic duo, Rich and Steve, is definitely like a day without sunshine!

Click-the sound of me turning off KROC. I will not support a station who treats their employees like that.

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